New year, new aims and new resolutions! The new year started with a bang marking the beginning of a new era for startups, innovations and inventions! If you were too caught up with New Year celebrations, catch up with the news of this week with our weekly wrap up.
ECOMMERCE SITES TO DISPLAY THE MRP AND EXPIRY DATE
This new year, all ecommerce sites will now have to display the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) and the expiry date of all the human consumable products on all their sites. This move comes after multiple customers complained about such ecommerce sites hiking the prices of their products in order to provide bigger discounts. The etailers had until January 1, 2018, to comply with the government’s order to display all the important details about the products up for sale. However, according to a survey by LocalCircles, only 42% of 10,000 respondents had seen products listed above MRP and then discounted off the inflated price.
ALIBABA TO INVEST IN LOGISTICS STARTUP XPRESSBEES
The China based ecommerce firm Alibaba has been keenly looking to invest in multiple Indian startups to build its ‘iron triangle.’ For this purpose, the company will be investing close to $ 100 million in the Pune based logistics firm XpressBees and will be closing the deal in the next two to three weeks. Till date, Alibaba and its financial arm Ant Financials have invested in online payment and digital wallet Paytm and online grocery delivery service, BigBasket.
SALIL PAREKH BECOMES THE NEW INFOSYS CEO
After months of searching and numerous disagreements with the founder of India’s largest IT firm Infosys, the company finally found a Chief Executive Officer. After the resignation of Vishal Sikka in August, Salil Parekh will be taking on the reigns of the Bengaluru based information technology (IT) major, Infosys, as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. According to sources, the new CEO will earn an annual salary of Rs. 16.25 crores, including Rs. 9.75 crores variable pay.
FLIPKART TO INVEST IN LOGISTICS ARM EKART
India’s largest ecommerce company Flipkart, in an attempt to strengthen their logistics arm, infused another $ 257.3 million in eKart. According to filings with the Registrar of Companies, Flipkart raised this sum in multiple tranches between October and November last year. In 2018, according to Kalyan Krishnamurthy, the company would now be focusing on increasing its monthly active users and increasing its revenue.
SWIGGY TO RAISE $ 200 MILLION FROM NASPERS AND TENCENT
One of India’s fastest growing food ordering and delivery service startup Swiggy will be raising close to $ 200 million from Chinese investment conglomerate Tencent and existing investor Naspers. After ending independent discussions with Japan based venture firm SoftBank, the company is looking to raise funds at a pre money valuation of $ 600- $ 650 million. According to sources, Tencent, which will join the Swiggy bandwagon as a new investor also proposed to increase their investment in the startup to around $ 100 million.
UBER CO FOUNDER TRAVIS KALANICK TO SELL 29% OF STOCK
After facing scandal upon scandal and fighting multiple lawsuits, the global taxi hailing startup Uber is finally on track to raise much needed capital from SoftBank and other investors. For this purpose, the co founder of Uber and former CEO Travis Kalanick will be selling 29% of his stock in Uber for about $ 1.4 billion. As a part of the latest investment round, SoftBank and a consortium of investors have agreed to buy stock from existing investors and employees, valuing the company at $ 48 billion. Post this transaction, SoftBank will take a 17% stake in the ride hailing services company.
That’s all for this week! Subscribe to our portal to never miss updates from the startup world! If your startup has an exciting announcement coming up, you can even write to us at [email protected]. Catch up with the highlights of the week with our The News This Week section.
Marissa Mayer Creates Tech Startup Incubator
Marissa Mayer, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Yahoo, is starting a brand new business incubator called Lumi Labs in partnership with long time colleague, Enrique Munoz Torres. According to reports, the new business incubator will aim to focus on consumer media and artificial intelligence.
While the incubator in itself is extremely intriguing, what makes the idea all the more exciting is the fact that Mayers is going back to the roots of her work. It is a homecoming of sorts for her as Mayer has rented out Google’s original office in Palo Alto, California, where she had started her career as a 24 year old Stanford University graduate.
Thinking about what’s next, I returned to my roots, rented the original Google office where I started my career, and founded a lab with my longtime friend and teammate @eamunozt. A bit of info: https://t.co/6A058GJUvp
— marissamayer (@marissamayer) April 18, 2018
This particular Google office has a lot of special things attached to its name. The office was home to online payments company, PayPal, which was started by a host of co founders including Tesla founder, Elon Musk. Marrisa was selected as the 20th employee of Google in the year 1999 and was in fact, the first female engineer to get a job at the largest search engine!
Mayer left the Google office after 13 long years and joined Yahoo in the year 2012 for five long years! Despite being regarded as the Geek Goddess at Google, she failed to revive Yahoo’s stalled business even after trying her best. While not a lot has been revealed about the new business incubator Mayer’s and Torres are working on, the premise in itself looks extremely exciting. With more and more people venturing into the field of artificial intelligence, the fact that Mayer’s business will be combined with consumer media is what will eventually make all the difference!
Facebook Embroiled In Yet Another Controversy
Just days after Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of the Senate, our favourite CEO seems to have gotten himself involved in yet another controversy. The two days of hearing confirmed that Zuckerberg would make sure the Cambridge Analytica data leaks issue would be resolved as soon as possible. While this may have temporarily satiated the growing unrest faced by Facebook, a seemingly off handed made by Zuckerberg sparked off yet another serious issue.
Zuckerberg while responding to U.S. Representative Ben Luján sparked another controversy, as he revealed, “For security reasons, Facebook also collects data of people who have not signed up for Facebook.” While the concerns over the security of WhatsApp’s payment based data appear to be settling down, Facebook’s scenario is different. The matter seems too deep to settle down.
Clarifying the issue, Zuckerberg made a statement saying, “When you make a payment, WhatsApp creates the necessary connection between the sender and recipient of the payment, using Facebook infrastructure. We pass the transaction information to the bank partner, which is called a PSP (payment service provider) and to the NPCI (National Payment Corporation of India,) so they can facilitate the movement of funds between the sender’s and receiver’s bank accounts.”
Furthermore, WhatsApp said it does not divulge all the data revealed by the users and said in a statement, “In some cases, we may share limited data to help provide customer support to you or keep payments safe and secure.” While this may seem like a tender coating on a serious issue, the controversies just seem to keep increasing for Zuckerberg. During the two days Congressional grilling session, it became very apparent that Facebook is primarily owned by the founder.
Thanks to the firm’s stock structure, its public investors, even those with $1 billion (£ 70 million) holdings, do not have much say on the company’s future. So far, the investors haven’t raised their voice over the structuring of the shares. However, with the Cambridge Analytica issue blowing up in his face like it has, the time is now ripe to on the tyranny that has become Zuckerberg. By the looks of things, however, it seems the eccentric founder isn’t ready to give up control just yet. Now, only time will tell about the online social media’s platforms future.
Ola Launching 100,000 Electric Vehicles In The Next 12 Months
The SoftBank backed cab aggregator, Ola, announced its plan of adding 100,000 electric cars to its existing fleet. With a majority of these e vehicles being electric rickshaws, the cab aggregator wants to get this process sorted within the next 12 months as a part of the Mission Electric program.
The Bengaluru based company is aiming to get one million electric vehicles on its platform by 2021, to boost the electric vehicle ecosystem in the Country. “Three wheelers are a vital means of transportation and a source of livelihood for millions of people every day. It also represents an immediate opportunity to improve outcomes for all stakeholders while reducing pollution across towns and cities,” Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola co founder and CEO said in a statement.
Ola launched its first pilot electric vehicle program on 26 May, 2017. These pilot vehicles included electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws, electric buses, rooftop solar installations, charging stations, and battery swapping experiments. However, the pilot vehicles failed to take off when they were launched. According to several reports, Ola cab drivers did not like the long waiting time and said the charging centres were not sufficient.
Furthermore, the report also said the drivers wanted to go back to the electric vehicles. More than a dozen electric car drivers of the 20 drivers interviewed in Nagpur, have either returned their electric taxis and switched to diesel, or are planning to do so. Ola also faced several other hurdles with electric vehicles and was even forced to close one following protests from residents angered by traffic jams caused by the taxi drivers.
“The EV program in Nagpur has provided Ola with significant insights into effectively managing vehicles, batteries, and operations. The company plans to continue its experimentation with ways to optimize batteries and charging, to develop a strong business model for EV deployment in the country” the company said in a statement.
The Bengaluru based cab aggregator has also said it is in talks with several state governments to make sure the electric vehicles are deployed properly. The policies used are going to make sure the electric three wheelers are going to be as per the environmental regulations.
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